Neuromyelitis optica-IgG in idiopathic inflammatory demyelinating disorders amongst Hong Kong Chinese

Eur J Neurol. 2009 Mar;16(3):310-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-1331.2008.02376.x.


Background: Idiopathic inflammatory demyelinating disorders (IIDD) affect the central nervous system. In classical multiple sclerosis (CMS), brain, optic nerves [optic neuritis (ON)] and spinal cord [acute transverse myelitis (ATM)] are affected. In neuromyelitis optica (NMO), optic nerves and spinal cord are predominantly affected. NMO-IgG, an autoantibody targeting aquaporin-4, is a marker for NMO. We studied the frequency and clinical relevance of NMO-IgG seropositivity in IIDD patients.

Methods: Neuromyelitis optica-IgG was detected by indirect immunofluorescence using primate cerebellum.

Results: Neuromyelitis optica-IgG was detected in six of 10 NMO patients (60%), six of 10 idiopathic relapsing transverse myelitis (IRTM) patients (60%), two of nine idiopathic relapsing ON patients (22%), one of 11 patients (9%) having single ON attack, one of 30 CMS patients (3%), and none of patients having single ATM attack or controls. Comparing NMO-IgG seropositive (n = 12) with NMO-IgG seronegative (n = 8) patients having NMO or IRTM, NMO-IgG seropositivity was associated with a higher relapse rate in first 2 years, 1.5 and 0.6 attacks/year for seropositive and seronegative groups respectively (P = 0.006), and non-significant trend towards more severe ON and myelitis with poorer clinical outcome.

Conclusion: Neuromyelitis optica -IgG facilitates diagnosis of NMO spectrum disorders. NMO-IgG seropositivity is associated with higher relapse rate in first 2 years.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aquaporin 4 / immunology
  • Autoantibodies / blood*
  • Autoimmune Diseases of the Nervous System / immunology*
  • Demyelinating Diseases / immunology*
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique, Indirect
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis / immunology
  • Myelitis, Transverse / immunology
  • Neuromyelitis Optica / immunology*
  • Optic Neuritis / immunology
  • Recurrence
  • Young Adult


  • AQP4 protein, human
  • Aquaporin 4
  • Autoantibodies
  • Immunoglobulin G